Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre


Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. Eye catching and GREEN.

Vancouver has always had an eye catching Trade and Convention Centre,but with the new West Building we got a major upgrade! The new building officially opened on April 4th 2009 but it was under construction since November 2004, built 60% on land and 40% over the water.

For several months, almost a year, anyone go through down town Vancouver down by the build site would hear regular loud banging. This was the pile driving of a great many supports that would hold up the over water part of the structure. That was one part of the construction that could not end soon enough….. After that we were left with the wait to see the finished building. We knew it would be modern, beautiful, “green”, and a centre peace for Vancouver. We got what we were looking for.


The new Vancouver Convention Centre building, the West Building, delivered on lots of the hype. Build to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified standards, designated a PowerSmart Convention Centre by BC Hydro, and awarded a “Go Green” certificate from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). The West Building is one of the greenest convention centre’s in the World.

In its list of eco-friendly technology the West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre has Canada’s largest green roof covered with indigenous plants. It’s actually possible that if you were flying over the top of the building you may not notice it as you look down at Vancouver City Waterfront. It’s said that whole cities could become almost invisible from the air if all roof tops were green spaces. The biggest benefits to green roofs over traditional black or white membrane systems are reduced energy costs and storm water management.

However green roofs can also cut the overall temperature of large cities caused by the “urban heat island effect” through the plant’s ability to transpire and shade. Green roofs are cooler and require less air conditioning for the building, the roofs do not trap heat the way a black roof can. Finally, green roofs last longer than traditional roof tops.

Water conservation and reuse systems feature “black water” treatment and desalinization. This process is expected to cut potable water use by 60 or 70% as compared to a typical convention centre. Heat pumps take full advantage of constant seawater temperature and energy-efficient fixtures are installed all through the building. Doing more than just reducing impact to the local environment this building goes further, it is built with an artificial reef that spans the full length of the new structure. Wired with cameras so visitors can view the sea life taking hold.

A few quick facts:

  1. Funding in millions breaks down like this, Government of BC 540.7 million, Government of Canada 222.5 million, Tourism Vancouver 90 million, “Revenue Generation” 30 million. The construction of the West Building was budgeted at $495 million but final costs were $883 million, an overrun of $388 million dollars! This has become a major point of contention in Vancouver and is now known as “the largest overrun of any public project in BC history”. Premier Gordon Campbell blamed rising costs and the “Global Economic Situation” however a report by the provincial auditor said the project was over budget mainly because of late design alterations and accelerated construction timetable to make sure it was ready for the 2010 Olympic Games.
  2. The Vancouver Convention Centre expansion added 335,000 square feet of meeting space and the convention centre now has a gross of 1.1 million square feet of public spaces.
  3. Information on the environmental review process can be found here: EAO’s Website this project is located on an old land fill site and former CP Rail ferry terminal. The land has been in industrial development for more than 100 years.
  4. During construction a wide verity of skills were required and in all 6,702 person-years of employment were required (or available).


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